Friday, September 18, 2015

2015-09-17: Hive Inspection

I had a number of tasks that needed to be accomplished for a while now.  My top priority was to get the nuc hives transferred to full sized hive bodies so they can build up enough stores to last the Winter.  I'm hoping they can both build up to two full deeps in time.  Believe it or not, Winter is coming.  Especially in honey bee terms.  Second on my list was to make sure the cutout hive is built up to four full medium boxes.  Last on my list was to check the status of Green Hive's honey supers and if the top one was full remove it for processing.  I have to thank Byron for coming out to help me again.  Having an extra set of hands is always appreciated!

Nuc hives:

The nucs are each currently resting on a single cinder block.  So we had to throw down another cinder block and level it to the existing one to make room for the full sized hive bodies.  Byron was able to unstrap each nuc and move it a few feet out of the way while I set the other block in place and checked it for level.  With a little adjusting and stomping on the blocks, they were level.  The new hives were set in place and frames removed to make room for the five frames from the nucs.  All that was left was to remove the frames from the nucs and put them into the new hives.

Byron transferring frames
This went really fast since I wasn't really focused on inspecting every frame.  But I did notice a number of queen cups and what looked to be a torn open queen cell on one of the frames.

Queen cups
I did not spot the queen during the transfer of these five frames.  It is quite possible that they actually swarmed....taking my new purchased queen with them.  She should have been easy to spot since she was marked.  I'll need to check this one closely next time and see if I can spot the marked queen or if they requeened themselves.  If they did swarm there isn't much hope for that swarm to establish and overwinter this late in the year.

After we finished moving the frames over, the inner cover went on and a jar of sugar syrup went on top of that to feed them.  This should give them the sugar they need to draw out the empty frames in the new hive.

The second nuc went just as quickly.  Thankfully this time I was able to spot the queen and there were no queen cups to be found on any of these frames.  Can you find her in the picture below?

Spot the queen with the green dot on her back!
The were some really nice frames in both nuc hives with plenty of honey and pollen.  Hopefully they have the resources to increase their populations and expand like crazy!

Drawn frame with honey and capped brood
Cutout Hive:

We opened up the cutout hive and checked to see how many of the existing frames had been drawn out.  I was a little bummed to see that they only had about 7 of the frames drawn.  I thought for sure with all the Goldenrod blooming around my house that they would have tons of nectar to make wax and honey.  Maybe these bees don't like the smell of sweaty gym socks because that is what Goldenrod nectar smells like!

I decided to add the fourth box to the hive and put a sugar syrup feeder on as well.  Go bees go!

Green Hive:

A quick look into the top honey super on this hive did not give me what I wanted.  The entire super had only one frame with any honey in it and a number of the frames were still undrawn.  Looks like no honey for harvest this year.  The second honey super wasn't much better.  That box was given all drawn frames and there were only a few frames with any honey or nectar in them at all.  I'll probably have to combine the best frames from the two honey supers into one box and feed this hive too.

White Hive:

This hive has one honey super on it and I expected to see the same lack of use.  I was so glad to be wrong!!  The bees had this super completely filled and capped.  Since this hive was the only one that wasn't requeened this year, I wonder if that is why they were able to make a surplus.  I know of a beekeeper's saying that may explain this - "You can make honey or bees but not both".

What's Next:

I will check the hives in a week to see how much of the feed they consumed and how many of the frames they are building up. 

Until next time, thanks for reading!!